View Full Version : labnjab's frag tank

11-13-2010, 05:53 PM
We started fragging our sps and realized we didn't have much room for frags in our display so we picked up a used aqueon 20 long last night and decided to make a frag tank. Its in the planning stages now.

Here's the plan. It will plumbed into our 75 gallons sump. I'm debating on getting it drilled or using the eshoppes overflow HOB that we have. I'm thinking drilled. The HOB overflow is kind large for a 20 gallon and I really want to maximize room for frags.

Since it will house mainly sps frags it will be high flow and high light. To start I will use 2 koralia 2 powerheads and add more if needed.

For lighting were going to go with a 150 watt metal halide fixture with a 14000K bulb so they look the same as the parent colony. I was going to go with a 10,000K for growth but decided I'd rather them look as good as the parent colony so I'll stick with the same bulb the display has.

The tank will be bare bottom with eggcrate shelves and I'll add a few snails to help with algae.

Thats all we have for now. I still need to buy the powerheads, a return pump, a stand, and light. Hopefully we will have it running by the new year

11-14-2010, 06:26 PM
We are picking up a 175 watt light Metal hailde this week, its a little more then we wanted, but I can always mount it higher and acclimate them to it. For $40 I can't complain, lol. I also ordered 2 koralia 2 powerheads so all we need now is to have the tank drilled and a return pump.

11-14-2010, 07:30 PM
I'm looking forward to the up-dates as you go.

11-15-2010, 01:10 AM
I'm looking for suggestions on a return pump. It needs to be small as I'm lacking space in the sump. I'm thinking something in the 500-600 gph range, which would give me 10x turnover after factoring in head loss. A friend even offered to drill the tank for us.

Another benefit of this tank is 20 gallons more water volume to the systemthumbs2:

I'll keep you updated. We pick up the light early this week and the powerheads on Saturday. I also need to buy or build a stand.

11-15-2010, 05:44 PM
Turns out the tank we have is actually a reptile tank, it was used for fish but IMO its too think to safely drill. (were going drilled vs HOB overflow) A friend is giving us a pre-drilled acrylic tank, I think its about the same size as a 20 long, but it may be a little smaller.

Looks like the power heads were getting are the new koralia evo 750 gph which will give us 70x turnover between the 2, plus then can be used with a wave maker unlike the older series of koralia power heads. This will give us the chance to try out the wave maker feature of our reefkeeper lite.

11-15-2010, 10:41 PM

We ordered a return pump from the same guy we're getting the powerheads from and he's building us a stand for the tank. All for $110 and 7 frags which is a really good deal. All in all this build will cost us under $200 and a few frags once we buy new bulbs and misc plumbing. If all goes well it will be running by thanksgiving

11-15-2010, 11:13 PM
Can't wait to see pics thumbs2:

11-16-2010, 01:09 PM
Neeeddddd..... piccccsssss

11-17-2010, 12:13 AM
I'll get some tomorrow. All I have is the light though so they will be boring.

Speaking of that, we picked the light up this afternoon. Its missing the reflector, but I found a good one for $20 online. Its a 175 watt single ended metal halide with 2 24 inch vho super atinics and 2 big strips of led moonlights. It also has a 6 inch fan in it as well. All for $40. It needs new bulbs and the reflector which will bring the total cost to $140 but still not bad considering its everything and should grow some serious sps in a 20 gallon

11-20-2010, 06:41 AM
Still no pictures but hopefully soon. We picked up the acrylic tank last night. Its a little scratched but they should buff out. We also pick up the stand, powerheads, and return pump tomorrow night. I hope to have the tank plumbed in and running by Sunday night.

I'm still waiting for the reflector and a new bulb for the light so the tank will be just extra water volume until next week until we get the light going. Once I get the light running I'll start some serious fragging:hmm3grin2orange:

11-22-2010, 12:25 PM
Heres some pictures

The tank and stand. I traded 1 frag for the tank and 5 for the custom made stand. The tank still needs to be cleaned up.


Heres the light. Its old but works great. The reflector should be in this week and I will order all new bulbs soon as well


I also ordered a bulkhead from ebay for $4 which should be in my the middle of the week. Then all thats left is plumbing it in. We have the pump, a mag 5 and 2 koralia evo 750 powerheads. Were going to plumb it in clear hose to simplify it

11-22-2010, 05:32 PM
Looks like you will have everything you need for a great long weekend project

Can't wait to see it all set-up

11-22-2010, 05:43 PM
I can't wait to have it running, all I need is the bulkhead and I can set it up.

The thing I like the most is it will simplify weekly water changes. Usually I have to kill the pump to the display, drain and fill 5 gallons from the sump and 5 from the display, then restart everything. With the frag tank hooked up, all I need to do is kill the pump to the frag tank and change the water from the frag tank and be able to leave the display running

11-25-2010, 12:03 AM
The bulkhead and reflector have arrived:hmm3grin2orange: Everything is level and I have 10 gallons mixing in the frag tank and 10 more in my mixing tank. I'm picking up the plumbing tonight at home chepo and hope to have it going tonight. If I'm lucky I'll even get the light hanging, but that may not be until Friday, I still have to decide how I'm going to do it. I'll run it with the old bulbs for now and order all new bulbs before the years over.

11-27-2010, 08:09 AM
I finished plumbing it this afternoon and it is now up and running. Installation went pretty smooth too.

We do have one setback. The bulbs are junk. I only get 150 par directly under the halide, and only 30 where i plan to keep the coral. My sump light is brighter then this, so for now it will remain empty of frags until we get new bulbs. I need atleast 200-400 par for the sps.

Any suggestions on a good single ended 175 watt bulb that works with a magnetic ballast?

11-28-2010, 08:10 AM
I ordered all 3 bulbs tonight. We ordered a blueline 10,000K for the halide and 2 super actinics for the VHO's. Hopefully we will have at least the halide by mid week. The blueline 10,000K is suppose to have great growth and the vho's will provide great coloring

11-29-2010, 12:23 PM
Here are some pics. Its up and running and we need now is the metal halide bulb and vhos which will be here this week. I also have to find a better way to hang the light, it doesn't completely cover the tank. The picture was taken with just the vho's on, some reason the camera picked it up as extremly purple, but its actually blue in person.



Until we get the light going, I keep it covered up to keep algae from growing on the sides due to the light from the display. By the way, here it is in correlation to the display. I also did a power kill and it only ads a half inch of water to the sump, which is odd because the frag tank loses and inch and a half of water and its the same dimensions as our sump


11-29-2010, 12:35 PM
Look'n good.

You've got me tempted to start another SW myself !

11-29-2010, 04:40 PM
Wow... that last picture is really trippy hahaha but the progress looks good! How far away are you from putting some frags in there?

11-29-2010, 05:30 PM
Thank you:ssmile:

As soon as I get the new metal halide bulb, I can start adding some frags. I hope it will be in early this week, I ordered it Saturday night and its only a few states away. I won't get the VHO's for a few weeks but the halide alone will be more then enough light. Flow in the tank is awesome, those 2 koralia evo 750's move a ton of water so all the sps will be happy. Between those and the mag 5 return pump (minus head loss) were at around 1800 gph which is 90x turnover, and its nice, gentle flow. The frags should grow better then in the display.

11-29-2010, 05:35 PM
LOL...looks like the lab of the mad scientist!

"I vill create a masterpiece! *bwhahaha*"

11-29-2010, 05:38 PM
p.s. Gonna grow a brain in that tank???


12-03-2010, 12:33 PM
p.s. Gonna grow a brain in that tank???


lol, only if I could figure out how to frag one

Our bulb never showed up yesterday so hopefully today. Then I start doing some serious fragging. My green slimer has grown out of control over the past few weeks.

Had a small flood in the frag tank yesterday. Someone was coming over to buy my last remaining frags, so I bagged them up ahead of time and floated the bags in the frag tank to keep them warm. Then I go back to work. 20 minutes later I get a txt from my finance that the frag tank is overflowing. So I rush home (luckily I live above my work) and unplug the return (get zapped). One of the bags blocked the drain (blush) so I moved all of them to the sump. I think we only lost 2-3 gallons, but could have lost 10-15 if no one was home.

The worse part was I had the ballast and powerstrip under the stand. I know not a smart move but I was going to relocate them once I had th light going. Luckily nothing was destroyed and I moved everything away from the tank when I got home.

12-03-2010, 01:17 PM
Glad to hear you got lucky man but sorry to hear bout the slight mishap

12-04-2010, 05:57 PM
The halide came in yesterday. Its a ton brighter then it was, but not as bright as I expected. Only 100-150 par on the bottom. The tank has a ton of flow which should make up for the lack of light. I put a few frags in last night to see how they liked the light. If they hold there colors by Sunday night, then I'll add more, if not then I'll have to find a different option for lighting. So far their colors look good, not as good as the display, but not half bad

12-05-2010, 08:03 AM
Out of curiosity labnjab how are you testing your PAR you get at different levels of the tank?

12-06-2010, 12:21 PM
An apogee instruments par meter. It belongs to my local reef club, but I'm starting to question its accuracy. Its only showing 80 par in my display on the sand, which doesn't seem right because we have a fast growing croeca clam there and its as happy as a clam :hmm3grin2orange: and croeca require a lot of light. I'm gonna try to find another par meter to double check it.

12-06-2010, 03:07 PM
Sorry you got zapped. Good thing you caught it when you did.

12-06-2010, 04:53 PM
Nice ok cool... so labnjab sorry to digress here but how do you know what par levels certain corals or clams should be at? I'm curious since I have my lighting but I haven't found a solid source on what needs what amount of light.

12-06-2010, 05:42 PM
Nice ok cool... so labnjab sorry to digress here but how do you know what par levels certain corals or clams should be at? I'm curious since I have my lighting but I haven't found a solid source on what needs what amount of light.

I can't remember off the top of my head where I originally got the information, but I just use my display as reference for other tanks. Every individual coral is different and flow also play a big factor. I don't thing theres a rule set in stone since other things play a role in growth

For reference, heres where everything is in our tanks, and most things grow extremely well and look awesome, and you will probably achieve different results in your tank.Most of my acros are in 200-400+ par and grow like weeds, but they are also blasted with flow. I also have a few acros on the sand in under 200 par and they seem to grow decent, but not as good as the ones in the higher light levels. Most of the other sps fall in these ranges.

Most of my lps are in 100-150 par and do great as well. Softies in my 10 gallon are anywhere from 50-150 par and all do great, but we also have some xenia in the 75 just below the surface, climbing the glass at around 900 par and i'm shocked their don't melt from the light.

Our clams are in 80-150 par, which is why I don't think the meter is 100 % accurate because I always considered them higher light, and need at least 200 par, yet their doing extremely well, but if it is accurate, proves every individual is different.

Here are a few pictures. I started doing a little fragging. The digi and birdsnest are just in there till I find a spot in the display



The frags


12-06-2010, 06:46 PM
Nice and thanks for the info! Cool frags too

12-22-2010, 12:31 PM
Thank you

We've decided to upgrade the lighting on this tank. I'm just not happy with the color and the 175 watt just doesn't have enough output. We found a good deal on a used 250 watt HQI pendant with new 10,000K ushio bulb. Only $60 and they guy will deliver for a few frags thumbs2: I just have to buy a ballast for it. I'll probably change the bulb to a phoenix 14000K to help with the color too

12-22-2010, 12:38 PM
Looks like everything is coming together nicely

12-24-2010, 08:17 PM
Thank you. Its working out great. I will be even better when we get the new light. The 175 watt is enough to keep them alive, but everything looses color. Once we get the 250 watt hqi with a phoenix 14000K over it, things will do much, much better:hmm3grin2orange:

12-27-2010, 05:19 AM
We got a new light for the frag tank today. Its a 250 watt hqi pendant. I ordered a lumantek digital dimmable ballast for it and a 14000K phoenix bulb. The dimmable ballast will make light acclimation a lot easier. Hopefully it will be in by the near year.

12-27-2010, 10:44 AM
Good-0 labnjab. How deep is that tank?

Are you fragging for trade or sale? You keeping NSW levels with supplement or reactor?


12-27-2010, 12:11 PM
Its 12 inches deep, but only 11 inches of water due to the overflow. I'm fragging for sale and trade. Its hasn't been much, but enough to pay for tank's monthly expenses, but I hope to pick up a few stores to start bringing in more income to help pay off some bills :ssmile:

Its plumbed into our main system. No supplements. We are keeping levels up with a reef octopus cr140 calcium reactor with ARM media and we only use instant ocean salt mix. The arm does a good job at keeping calcium, alkalinity and magnesium up, as well as other trace elements that I don't measure.

12-27-2010, 01:59 PM
Cool! I wish mine had panned out...I was really looking forward to watching corals grow.

I still have all the equipment (not ready to sell it and lose 1/2 of my investure)...maybe I'll start up again in the future.

01-03-2011, 05:11 PM
I think the best chance for success of a frag tank is to plumb it into you main tank, that way you get all the filtration and supplements of the main tank without any extra work.

Our new ballast and bulb should be here today. I can't wait to get the new light set-up over the frag tank :hmm3grin2orange:

01-03-2011, 11:43 PM
New light and ballast are in and running. 100x better the the old light. With the ballast set to hqi we get 400 par on the bottom of the tank. I dialed it down to 175 watts which puts it at 150-200 par so that the coral gets use to the new light. I hope to have it full blast in a week or 2.

I love the ballast so far. It make no noise at all. Its been running 2 hours now and is cool to the touch.

I'll get pics soon. We are camera less at the moment.

01-05-2011, 12:31 PM
Finally broke down and ordered some aptasia destroyer. The aptasia has gotten to the point where I've had to move 3 of mylarger unattached colonies to the frag tank because they were getting attacked by aptasia in the display and starting to bleach. Can't wait for the stuff to arrive so I can start nuking some aptasia. I'm sick of them:hmm3grin2orange:

01-05-2011, 12:35 PM
Good luck with the aptasia destroyer.

I've never had to deal with a aptasis problem like that before, so I'm interested to hear how this will work for your set-up.

01-07-2011, 05:58 PM
Here is the FTS with the new light. Its set to 175 watts for now and we turn it up to 250 watts after 5 pm. Every few days I extend the amount of time its set to 250 watts. At 175 watts it has 200 par on the bottom of the tank and at 250 watts it has 400+ par on the bottom and if I set it to hqi it goes up to 450 par. I love the new ballast:hmm3grin2orange:

01-07-2011, 06:28 PM
Very nice!thumbs2:

01-19-2011, 12:16 PM
Thank you :) We picked up some black egg crate to make the frag holders out of. I think it will look far better then the white stuff does. Now I just need to find a way to switch it out without taking all the frags out, lol

01-19-2011, 01:07 PM
Black egg crate is really going to look good in your tank. I think it will really make your frages stand out

The tank is looking really nice BTW

01-19-2011, 05:55 PM
Thank you Cliff

We revamped the frag tank today. Replace the white eggcrate with black. IMO it looks a lot better and I have a lot more room. We've got about 40 frags in it, plus a few colonies from our DT, and still have room for another 30 or more frags. I'm thinking of putting a few peppermints in it to eat up any leftover food from the sun coral. I also noticed the frag tank is full of pods. Thousands of them. Must be due to the fact nothing in there consumes them.


01-19-2011, 10:14 PM
awesome pic man those frags look awesome lol

01-21-2011, 05:37 PM
Thank you :) Got a guy coming this afternoon to take 7 or 8 off my hand. That will make enough to cover my last 2 orders from bulk reef supply

01-21-2011, 06:06 PM
Excellent! thumbs2:

Now I want to start mine up again (er, not really...at least not yet...):hmm3grin2orange:

03-12-2011, 05:36 PM
We decided to swap out the acrylic 20 long for a glass 20 long. We trade a few frags for a brand new one. A friend is gonna drill it for us next weekend. The acrylic was just a nightmare to clean without scratching

03-12-2011, 07:52 PM
Is it because of the coraline algae ?

I've found that stuff is the toughest algae to clean off glass. It's like its super-glued on there

03-13-2011, 05:13 PM
its a combo of coraline and those hard ditoms. I've given up on cleaning the tank, lol. We get the new one drilled next weekend and hopefully swapped out too. Then I can keep it much cleaner and use a razor on tough stuff

03-13-2011, 05:51 PM
Very nice frag tank!

03-21-2011, 11:12 AM
Thank you kaybee.

We got the tank drilled yesterday. It came out pretty good, a few chips on the inside, but nothing a little silicon on the gasket won't fix. Just ordered a new bulkhead which should be here midweek so there's no downtime making the switch so if all goes well the new tank will be running by this weekend

03-21-2011, 11:39 AM
Did you drill the tank yourself ?

I'd love to see come pics when you got the old tank swapped out for the new one.

03-22-2011, 09:33 PM
We had someone drill it for us, traded him a frag and $10. I'm not brave enough to try, especially on a $40 tank, lol

03-24-2011, 09:59 PM
We should be making the switch tonight. Making things easier too by doing a 10 gallon water change at the same time

03-25-2011, 04:45 PM
Well the switch went south fast. went to slide the pipe into the bulkhead and cracked the glass. (blush) Got another tank lined up though and should have it by next week. Luckily this 1st one only cost us a few frags

I almost forgot to mention, we added a 6 line wrasse to this tank a few weeks ago to control flat worms. He's doin great and very color full, but skittish as heck. I can't get a good pic of him.

03-25-2011, 05:37 PM
Sorry about your new tank.

Glad the wrasse is working out! I used chemical control for the flatworms...worked well. Better than the aiptasia chemical control...

03-25-2011, 10:17 PM
I've never been a fan of chemicals especially the flat worm stuff. We have a yellow corris wrasse in the display which took care of the flatworms there. I'm guessing some were in the sump and eventually made it to the frag tank. I'm seeing a lot less now since adding the wrasse so hopefully they will all go away soon

03-25-2011, 10:19 PM
I'm not a fan of chemicals either...but when you have a little tank...and no livestock options...it's sometimes easier to just cave and get 'er done.

04-12-2011, 04:25 AM
Well we finally swapped out the scratches up acrylic tank for a glass one and im a lot happier. Its gonna be eaisier to clean and the light looks so much brighter now that it doesnt have the huge acrylic lip at the top or painted background. I should have used glass from the start. Ill try and get. pics this week but it came out great.

On a side note, while trasfering the pepermint shrimp i noticed one was full of eggs so their now a mated pair. a friend has a device to harvest them so i may borrow it and harvest them for live food and maybe eventually try my hand at raising some after some research. It is possible but fairly difficult.

04-13-2011, 11:12 AM
Here are the new pics.




Hopefully we can keep it this clean. The only thing I want to do now is stick a power head under the eggcrate to keep the stuff from settling on the bottom

04-13-2011, 12:34 PM
Nice looking set-up

I like how the overflow is set-up in your tank

04-13-2011, 03:16 PM
See? THAT'S what I was hoping my frag tank would look like...but nooooooo...mine was a mess. Maybe one day I'll try it again...

Very nice.

04-13-2011, 04:04 PM
Thank you :ssmile: You should have seen the acrylic tank before we swapped it. A big brown mess because I couldn't clean it, lol.

The guy I bought the tank from drilled it and built the overflow for no extra charge, I just had to silicon it in place. I just need to shorten my strainer to keep any fish or shrimp from escaping to the sump. Now I can have both return pumps shut off without flooding the sump, where before I could only turn off the frag tank or the display and not both since we had no overflow

04-15-2011, 12:21 AM
Frag tank look sharp man! Any chance we can get some close ups on what you have in there? Also what's the big one in the bottom right of the FTS?

04-15-2011, 11:19 AM
Thank you. I'll try to get some close ups for you this afternoon. The large one on the right is a candy cane colony. I ran out of room for it in the display so now it lives in the frag tank. It started as a 3 head colony 2 years ago and now has 75 or more and thats after fragging a few dozen heads

04-15-2011, 02:04 PM
That is awesome. Where can I see some pics (if any) of your display tank, I'm guessing it's amazing!!thumbs2:

04-15-2011, 04:05 PM
Here are some pictures of whats inside the frag tank

This is everything that's for sale

This is a large purple polyp flower petal cap we don't have room for in the display


and the frags we will more to the display once we sell our open brain and get a few more chunks of rock


And our 6 line wrasse. This is the best picture I could get of him and he's a fast little guy


04-15-2011, 04:05 PM
That is awesome. Where can I see some pics (if any) of your display tank, I'm guessing it's amazing!!thumbs2:

Here's the link to the display's build thread


04-15-2011, 04:11 PM
You've got me thinking about a frag tank of my own now

04-15-2011, 04:23 PM
Go for it, lol. Its simple if you tie it into the sump of your existing system. Not only will it add tons of water volume, you can keep those ugly frag racks out of the display, lol. I also use it as kind of a coral grow out for new additions before putting them in the display.

04-15-2011, 04:31 PM
...if you do - don't take any advice from me...listen to labnjab only...:hmm3grin2orange:

04-20-2011, 11:21 AM
I'm sure yours wasn't that bad

We picked up a couple of mexican turbo snails last night to help with the hair algae we've been getting for some reason. There's none in the display so I'm unsure why there is any in this tank, but these guys are working quickly. Its mainly on the egg crate and powerheads. I put one on a powerhead completely covered in hair algae and its almost 100% cleaned now

04-20-2011, 04:35 PM
Turbos are great for algae control! Mine keep my rock pretty clean and there's only a couple of them... what kind of frags do you mainly grow? And kind of off topic but how do you frag somethin like an acro or a branchin LPS? I guess like a kenya tree (I think its called lol)

04-20-2011, 05:25 PM
I'm sure yours wasn't that bad...

...oh yes it was...it filled with algae immediately and I couldn't get it under control...the water evaporated so fast with the open top I couldn't keep the SG under control either...

I tried moving a couple of frags into it - into a clean corner...and they didn't make it...but they weren't doing well to begin with...so not the best test...

...regardless - total bust...:scry:

06-27-2011, 04:20 AM
We'll we've run into a slight problem with the frag tank. Then ballast we bought last Christmas died. Luckily its under warranty but I don't know when I will be able to get a replacement.

Luckily the plug on the fixture over the frag tank is identical to one of the ballast on the display tank, so until we get a new ballast, I'm gonna have to plug the frag tanks light into the ballast on the display over night when the displays lights are out, and swap them back during the day. Its kind of a pain but at least we won't loose any live stock. The only downside is that ballast will be running 24/7 for at least the next several days

08-22-2011, 01:35 AM
We made a big change to this tank today. We moved all our rock from the 10 gallon tank to the frag tank, so now the frag tank is half frag tank and half display. I'll try and post some pictures up tomorrow. Is is still tied into the 75 gallon as well so now we have close to 130 lbs of rock between the display, frag tank and sump.

08-22-2011, 11:11 AM
Here are some pictures





08-22-2011, 11:11 AM

08-22-2011, 06:28 PM
your corals are incredible man!